Music, Show and Tell, and Vertical Surface Painting

We are studying music!  Why investigate music making?  From very early ages, children begin demonstrating their enjoyment of music by smiling, clapping, bouncing, and dancing.  Songs that they frequently hear sung or played by caregivers become easily remembered and “performed.”  Children soon learn that they can strike objects and make sounds that will cause others to listen, allowing them to become “musicians” in their own right.                                     

In the preschool years, children are often very interested in performing musically, understanding how music is made, and learning new ways to generate sounds.  Taking inspiration from family music traditions and familiar songs, preschoolers are eager to perform and experiment with musical instruments, conventional or homemade, and sing songs both familiar and new.  Music is an important part of the life of the preschooler and  preschool classroom community and is an invaluable part of children’s academic, social, and emotional development.

This study offers many opportunities for children to investigate music making firsthand while they explore social studies and science concepts; experiment with and create instruments; interview musicians; and identify their feelings and preferences associated with different music experiences.  The study also helps children use and develop skills in literacy, math, technology, and the arts as they investigate.

Our focus question for the week was what instruments can we play by hitting, tapping, or shaking them?  Here are our answers:

Emily – “drums”

Collin – “tambourine”

Madeleine – “morracas”

Anna Scott – “xylophone”

Coleman – “shaker”

The children got to practice hitting the xylophone in music.  They also learned that the xylophone is part of the percussion family.

We read the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.  Chrysanthemum is a young girl with a very unique name.  She loves her name dearly until she starts school and her classmates make her feel as though her name is dreadful.  We learned the following new vocabulary words:  Chrysanthemum, roll call, scarcely, wilted, dreadful, fascinating, jealous, discontented, trifle, indescribable and humorous.

We had show and tell on Wednesday.  Children had to bring an item that started with the letter M.  Show and tell is so important because it teaches children to use appropriate conversations and communication skills.  Conversations involve back-and-forth exchanges.  Conversations are important to children’s cognitive and social-emotional learning.  Children also must learn the social rules of communicating.  This involves being polite, speaking so the listener understands, and turn-taking.   

We had our valentine party and celebrated our grandparents last week.  The children decorated their own sack, and took turns passing out valentine cards to their friends.  They were able to enjoy a special snack before going home.  Friday, was all about our grandparents.  We had an all school chapel and then each class gave a performance.  PreK sang three songs in Spanish, and did a fantastic job.  I enjoyed getting to see and visiting with all the grandparents.

We worked on our one-to-one correspondence skills in math.  The children had to count objects on a puzzle piece, and then find the correct number card that connected the two pieces.  Most of them could look at the small group of objects and identify the quantity without counting; this is called subitizing.  From this children explore concepts of more and less, how many, and parts and wholes.

We practiced on our vertical surface working.  This has been one of my favorite activities to date. Not only does it foster creativity, fun, and memorable experiences, it is so good for their little bodies. Vertical surface working, allows for more movement and better posture. Working on a vertical surface strengthens the abdomen, back, shoulders, and arms of the students. It also gives them a sense of freedom and confidence to find positions (stand, kneel, sit, etc.) that are comfortable and make “working” more enjoyable. This way of working naturally advocates the correct wrist, head/neck, and grasp positions. It has many benefits for preschool children, and it is fun at any stage. I encourage you all to try to implement this method at home. The fridge is an excellent (and easy) way to do so; add some paper, tape, and crayons - easy vertical workstation at home! 




Tracy Jones